All Project Yellowbird suspects now in custody

(Update)Police have now released the names of the nine people charged in a sophisticated car theft ring that was broken up in early morning raids Thursday. The six month investigation spanned Toronto, Oakville and Niagara, and led police to recover over five million dollars in stolen goods.What’s striking about this investigation is just how many vehicles and other valuables were stolen. Police revealed some of the items at a news conference this morning. Everything ranging from purses to jewellery to electronics — along with 23 high end cars.And it’s the cars these thieves were really after. Police allege a criminal ring broke into homes in wealthy Toronto neighbourhoods and stole the keys to luxury vehicles. They’d also pocket other valuable items like designer bags. The investigation is called “Project Yellowbird” after a yellow Porsche Carrera that was stolen during the December ice storm. That theft led police on a hunt that ended yesterday with raids on a number of residences and storage lockers where more cars were recovered. Some of the cars had been shipped overseas. Yellowbird was found in Lithuania. Police allege some of the people charged have been involved in this type of crime for a decade. Because the operation was so sophisticated, organized crime charges have been laid.Detective Dave Zajac, Toronto Police: “We knew we had a very sophisticated criminal organization. And at that point, with our leaders, we went ahead with the criminal organization charge.”44-year old Krzysztof Harasiuk is facing the longest list of charges including being part of a criminal organization, fraud, weapons offences, and theft. 8 others are charged along with him, five of them facing criminal organization charges. they are:28-year old Mykhaylo Antonov38-year old Piotr Buczel38-year old Arkadiuz Czeranowski46-year old Maciej Niezurawskand 35-year old Oskar BoczkowskiThree women are also charged:29-year old Tania Hernandez-Lopez with possession of property obtained by crime36-year old Milena Zelenovich is facing the same charge and 42-year old Magelena Lejawa is charged with conspiracy to break and enter.In total, the group is facing roughly 150 charges. Police say these arrests will put a major damper on Toronto car thefts.

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